Tina Hinchley on growing milk production by dairy farms

Hinchley's Dairy Farm owner Tina Hinchley describes how dairy farmers seek markets for their perishable product as cows produce higher volumes of milk due to improved genetics, feed and other factors.

By Aditi Debnath | Here & Now

January 17, 2024

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Tina Hinchley:
In Wisconsin, we have a milk surplus. We have a lot of milk. We have a lot of cows. So with that, if those contracts are already set for other milk coming in and there's too much milk... It's a daily product. It's gotta be used. If it can't be used, and the warehouses for the cheese are full, there's not gonna be a place to put it. We can only consume as much milk as we possibly can. And oftentimes when it is summertime, and there's not school, school milk programs do a lot for fluid milk. So that typically will help it. I do know many school districts did offer summer milk for the kids along with summer lunch programs to keep these kids eating through the summer, especially the ones in the lower income areas. So any opportunity that we have to use the milk has already been looked at. But unfortunately, cows are gonna make milk every single day. And with that, it's a dated product. So some people don't understand how much milk a cow makes. Average cow in Wisconsin right now is making eight gallons of milk a day. On our farm with robots, we have a couple cows and many farms have better genetics. Some of these cows are making 18, 19, even 20 gallons of milk a day. As time goes on, our genetics are improving, our housing is improving. The feed that we're growing for them is improving. So cows eventually are gonna keep producing more and more. So we have to figure out where the happy spot is in Wisconsin for where we're gonna be. But we need to make sure that every farmer, every family farm, has the opportunity to stay and keep milking because this is America's dairyland.

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